Hi, realise I'm not going to win many new friends, and perhaps ruffle some old laggards and DEs on here - BUT - I have to report, again about street crime.
Little bit of background - lived here 7 years. Came to live here (from the UK) because I loved the place - and still do.
When I first lived here I used to say exactly as others here have said 'Have your wits about you .. Barcelona? No worse than anywhere else etc etc etc blah blah.' BUT, petty crime here IS getting more frequent, and more serious than, say, 3 years ago.
I live in the Eixample - not a hotbed of bag-snatchers and pickpockets - However, I have to report that three weeks ago, our very local bar, just 50 meters away, was broken into and turned over. The following day the local pharmacy (100 meters away) was robbed by three lads armed with a pisto; the very same day our neighbours' apartment, on the 7th floor, was burgled, and in between the number 55 bus, which stops outside our apartment, was held up by a crazy with a knife. And, a local woman got robbed (400 euros) at the ATM across the street.
'Oh, yeah, happens everywhere, just be careful.' Sorry, doesn't wash.
All this happened within a 400 meter radius within four days.
And, today, this very afternoon, (NOT in the Eixample though) two friends visiting from the U.S. (mother and daughter) were robbed on Calle Princesa.
Now, the mother, from Mass. (originally from Maine) is a seasoned international traveller, (travels to Spain twice a year on business and many other countries) very savvy and street smart. The robbers didn't get her bag with money, cards etc (nor her very expensive Nikon camera).
It was a variation on an old dodge. Unseen, someone threw hot coffee at her then a guy stepped forward, seemingly concerned, offering help. 'Up there,up there' he said, pointing to a balcony, offering serviettes to soak up the mess. While distracted, in a split second, his accomplice grabbed the leather (laptop) bag she had just bought (200 euros) as a gift, containing only her scarf and a few other small, gifty items. It was her final few hours in Barcelona. Instead of watching the U.S.A. v England World Cup soccer match (which she was very much looking forward to) she had to waste hours in the comisaria (police station) filing a report. Upside was (and her 17 year old daughter agreed) the police officer she dealt with was a 'real cutey, gorgeous, patient, understanding and just so good looking'. 'I think,' she said.'The police in New York feast on too many doughnuts.'
To her credit she was very sanguine about it, her daughter not so much - the experience has really shaken her trust in other humans - but, she says, 'It was a lesson learned.'
'What lesson is that?' I asked.
'Never trust cute looking guys offering help.'
So, how ever street smart you think you are, please, be extra vigilant while enjoying the sights here. Especially in El Born, Barrio Gotico, Las Ramblas, Plaza de Catalunya, El Raval - and on the airport train, Placa de Espanya metro station, and Line 4 (yellow line) between Barceloneta and Verdaguer.
Barcelona really is a beautiful, beautiful city, with much to offer the curious, the intrepid, the romantic ...
'What a souvenir,' our very local bar owner, still sorting the mess from his break-in, said when I reported the tale of our friends' experience. 'Will they ever come back?'Edited: 17 July 2010, 17:30